Decision-making about Youth Bail and Detention Admissions: The Influence of Geographic Location and Race [2021-11-17]

The YCJA has resulted in significant overall decreases to detention admissions for youth. However, this research reveals that many youth are still being held for a bail hearing, thereby spending a considerable amount of time incarcerated, even if they are later released. Although the majority of youth are released on bail, restrictive conditions often result in breaches and additional charges. A major gap in research on youth bail practices has been considering the impact of geographic location on bail-related outcomes. Further, there is limited to no research exploring the role of race in youths’ admissions to custody and detention. Through an analysis of over a decade’s worth of youth cases and pre-trial detention admissions data, we found important geographic differences in bail decision-making and found that Black and Indigenous youth are over-represented in most provincial regions. Overall, there appears to be significant variation in youth justice practices across provincial regions, indicating potential problems related to proportionality and availability of supportive resources.


Safiyah Hussein | John Howard Society of Ontario

Dr. Jessica Sutherland | York University